First Line Fridays: Al Capone at the Blanche Hotel

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Saturday, June 14, 1930, O’Leno, Florida

Jack Jammed a finger into each ear and swallowed hard. Any other time, he wouldn’t even notice the stupid sound. The river always sorta slurped just before it pulled stuff underground. His stomach heaved again. Maybe he shouldn’t even look, either, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the circling current. When the head slipped under the water, the toe end lifted up. Slowly the tarpaulin wrapped body went completely vertical…. 

CaponeOh yeah, you betcha!! A book that begins on my birthday – not the year just the day, thank you! And it is about my all-time favorite gangster!! I am beyond excited about this book. Actually, there are no words to describe… well, I jumped up and down and nearly passed out when I was asked to join the blog tour if that gives you any idea at all. So – does that make YOU excited too??  Please say yes!!!  🙂 

What about you!? What are you absolutely thrilled over this week. Share your First Line here and let me know!! 

 

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Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser #BlogTour #HFVBT

02_Shakespeares-Witch
Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.
A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.
Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.
The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?
Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble

From the time that I first performed in a high school production of Macbeth, I have known of the rumors regarding the curse associated with the play. In fact, the curse has become as well known as the play itself.  Set against the backdrop of the original Macbeth production in the 1600s, coupled with sorcery and fate, Grosser has created a tale that is suspenseful, seductive and captivating.

Shakespeare’s Witch is, by far, one of the most intriguing and unique historical novels I’ve ever read. When Will Shakespeare’s new play is about to open, he calls on his friend, Sarah who is known to dabble in the occult, and asks her to see if his play will be a success or not. What Sarah sees badly frightens her and she begs Will not to go forward with the play. Of course, as we know, he does not listen and the play is forever cursed.

Grosser has done an amazing job creating believable characters that wind around one of the most well-known figures in history, Shakespeare, and brings him to life in a way I’ve never read before. They all are young, living in a time that is dark, forbidding, harsh and brimming with both religion and the occult. It is a confusing time on the brink of a new age, but still hidden in the shadows of so much darkness and ignorance. The way that Crosser illustrates this is sheer brilliance.

I admit that there are portions of the story that made me uncomfortable, and they should. The book does include incest, but that is a part of this era that cannot be overlooked. Only now are we able to look back on this time in history and take off our puritanical/Victorian glasses and see this era as it was, not what it would become. It’s important to remember when the story takes place and that England had very different ideas about a lot of things at that time. For me, this heightened the story, not detract from it, which is why I highly recommend it to you if you like historical fiction from this era. The magical realism works perfectly with the historical aspects from this time.

You can find the book on sale now. I am very appreciative to Amy @HFVBT @SamanthaGrosser and #SamanthaGrooserBooks for my copy of #Shakespeare’sWitch

About the Author:

untitledHistorical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.
Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.
Samantha has an Honors Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Pinterest | Instagram

Blog Tour Schedule:

Wednesday, March 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 21
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Friday, March 22
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, March 23
Feature at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 25
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, March 26
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, March 29
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, March 31
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 1
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 4
Interview at Hisdoryan

Monday, April 8
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, April 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Macsbooks

Friday, April 12
Review at A Book Geek

Monday, April 15
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, April 16
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Coffee and Ink

 

 

 

 

#Can’tWaitWednesday #ShakespeareWitch

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It is that time of week – WEDNESDAY! And Tressa at Wishful Endings hosts a wonderful tag each week – Can’t Wait Wednesday. So what are you waiting for!?

02_Shakespeares-Witch

Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.

A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.

Bwahahahahhaa….. I really cannot wait to get started on Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser. In fact, I’ll be reading it tonight. Under the covers with my faithful pup tucked close for safety!!!

I’ll be joining up with Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours for this one and I do hope you will stop by when it is my turn! As always they are fabulous! My stop is April 10th. Hope to see you then!

Thanks to Amy @HFVBT, and #SamanthaGrosser @SamanthaGrosser for my copy of this great book! I #CWW!!

 

Tempation Rag #BlogTour brought to you by #HistoricalFictionVirtualBlogTours #ElizabethHutchisonBernard #Giveaway

I have been anxiously awaiting today so that I could share with you this incredible book, Temptation Rag. Of all of the historical fiction books that I recently have read, this one is right at the top of my favorites list! Of course, you already know by its title, that it is set in an era that I adore, but it revolves around my most beloved music in all of the world: Ragtime!

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When I was a little girl I was forced loved to play the piano, but dreaded really never came unto my own musically until my tutor decided, after she had lost all of her hair, to introduce me to Ragtime. At last!! There was something about the syncopated rhythm that found its way into my heart and suddenly, quite literally, overnight my fingers were flying all over the keyboard. Forget hymns, Bach, even Stravinsky, all I wanted was Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington and Tommy Turpin from morning until night. So, when I was given the opportunity to read a historical fictional account of “The Ragtime King of the World,” Mike Bernard, you better believe I jumped at the chance and squealed in delight at the prospect! Not only that, it is written by the wife of Bernard’s grandson. It’s like heaven right here in my ragtime era sitting room. Seriously, can you tell I’m excited yet?

Seventeen-year-old May Convery, unhappy with her privileged life in turn-of-the-century New York City, dreams of becoming a poet. When she meets the talented young Mike Bernard, an aspiring concert pianist, she immediately falls in love. But after their secret liaison is discovered, neither is prepared for the far-reaching consequences that will haunt them for decades. As Mike abandons serious music to ruthlessly defend his hard-won title, Ragtime King of the World, May struggles to find her voice as an artist and a woman. It is not until years after their youthful romance, when they cross paths again, that they must finally confront the truth about themselves and each other. But is it too late?

Temptation Rag is told from multiple viewpoints, including in May’s voice and from Mike’s second wife, Jessie. There are multiple timelines as well but the author deftly transitions from past to present, person to person in a way that makes it very clear and the reader never loses the flow of the story line throughout. What is fascinating about the story itself are the characters, many of whom are based on real-life people who were in the ragtime/vaudeville circuit with Bernard. The era is real, the music is real and the social conditions – racism, women’s rights, child labor – which are being discussed throughout, all are quite real. As I’ve mentioned before, this era was a time of great change, socialism was making a huge impact across America. People of both sexes, all races, young and old, were demanding fairness and equality and it was from this turmoil, growth and change from which all of this incredible art and music sprung forth. I’m not sure why we don’t have that now but it was a beautiful thing then. Within this context we have the on again/off again love story of May and Mike. Although the blurb makes it appear that the book is about May, I don’t think we get nearly enough of her story. I wish there had been more but that is my only, very tiny complaint. Despite that, it is a very well researched, incredibly well written, engaging and entertaining tale. I cannot recommend it highly enough regardless of which type of genre you enjoy.

Frederic Tulsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist says it best –

“Terrific historical research and deft writing provide a striking portrait of racial and gender inequality in the ragtime era. An unforgettable and deeply human story.”

And now,  since it’s Monday and I’m supposed to include MUSIC on MONDAYS I have a rare treat for you!! A very early recording from 1915, of Mike Bernard, The Ragtime King of the world playing the piano!!  No joke.

The Ragtime King of the World – Ragtime Two-Step

Pretty darn awesome, right?? You can purchase Temptation Rag at any of the fine retailers below:

AMAZON  BARNES AND NOBLE | CHAPTERS | INDIEBOUND

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is the author of The Beauty Doctor, Finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award, 2017 AZ Literary Awards, and a Medallion Honoree of the Book Readers Appreciation Group.

Her novel The Beauty Doctor is a suspenseful tale that takes place in the early days of cosmetic surgery—when the world of medicine was a bit like the Wild West and beauty doctors were the newest breed of outlaw. Temptation Rag: A Novel immerses readers in the bawdy atmosphere of vaudeville and early twentieth-century African American musical theater in a story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness.

Elizabeth currently lives in Arizona with her husband and their much-loved and very spoiled black Lab.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Please join us on the remainder of the BLOG TOUR:

Monday, February 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 19
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, February 20
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, February 22
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, February 23
Guest Post at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Reviews

Monday, February 25
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.

Tuesday, February 26
Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, February 27
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 1
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, March 4
YOU ARE HERE – > Review at Macsbooks

Wednesday, March 6
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 8
Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, March 12
Review at Reader then Blogger

Friday, March 15
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away copies of Bernard’s other novel, The Beauty Doctor. One paperback and two eBooks are up for grabs. To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

HERE IS A DIRECT LINK TO ENTER

Whew! Thank you for reading ALL of this and thank you to Amy at #HFVBTBlogTours @HFVBT and @ EHBernardAuthor  for my copy of this amazing book!

 

Innocence Lost #SherilynDecter #HFVBT #HFVBTBlogTours #BookGivaway

Innocence Lost is the first book in a thrilling new series, The Bootleggers’ Chronicles, a historical mystery set during the Prohibition Era when bootleggers and speakeasies were common and crime was everywhere you turned.

50094227_292740241593203_5348341448779497472_nIn a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…

Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn’t have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren’t bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger’s playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with questionable ties…

When her son’s friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don’t seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child’s life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose. Maggie’s one advantage may be her new found friend: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?

It’s no secret that this era is my favorite in history. The Roaring 20s, the gangsters and bootleggers who were romanticized more than feared, rum-running and moonshiners in the cities and the hills combine to create a magical backdrop to an ever-changing landscape. However, in reality all of those things we love most were highly illegal and it led to many streets and cities being quite dangerous. This is the life that our heroine, Maggie, finds herself living in after the “great war.” She’s trying to make a home for her son in a run-down house in a city that is filled with crime. When her son’s friend goes missing, it appears that the two of them are the only ones who are willing to search for the boy – along with one very unusual policeman.

Decter has created an intriguing mystery that combines the best of the historical mystery genre with the gothic eeriness of paranormal. Because of the time period, it doesn’t really seem all that strange that the copper who helps Maggie is, well, a ghost. It just fits. And while there are those who shy away from magical realism or paranormal, this book marries these genres together so seamlessly that the storyline never once falters. The believability remains present throughout. It takes a good writer to do that and Decter accomplishes that feat. Innocence Lost is a well written, entertaining historical read; one that I highly recommend.

Innocence Lost is Available Now at AMAZON
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03_Sherilyn Decter[718]Sherilyn Decter is a writer, researcher, and lover of historical fiction. Her work is set in the Roaring Twenties and if you like feisty and determined heroines, complex cover-ups, Prohibition stories about criminal underworlds, police and political corruption, then you’re going to love Sherilyn’s grand gangster tales.

For more information, please visit Sherilyn Decter’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Thank you to Amy at @HFVBT, @HFVBTPartner for my copy of #Innocence Lost and to @SheriDecter for this incredible book. Please be sure to enter the FABULOUS GIVEAWAY BELOW and check out all of the stops along the amazing BLOG TOUR!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two prize packs of a copy of the book, a set of Paper Dolls, and a Jazz Age Fashion Coloring Book! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

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